Another obstacle has been cleared for a huge offshore windfarm after an inspector ruled against a council’s refusal of the underground cabling needed for the development.

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Philip Asquith backed Warwick Energy’s appeal, which came after North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) planners rejected the 28km of buried cables from Weybourne to Great Ryburgh.

They hold the key to transporting power from the planned 168-turbine Dudgeon windfarm off Cromer to a substation at Little Dunham - a facility which has yet to gain planning consent.

After planners in January rejected the application for the cables amid concerns about landscpa eand agricultural impact, Warwick lodged its appeal.

The saga took a new twist when NNDC took advice from counsel and voted to not defend the appeal, fearing the possibility of defeat and a six-figure costs bill.

In his findings, which followed a two-day hearing in May, Mr Asquith said: “The appeal is allowed and planning permission is granted for that part of a buried cable systems relating to the Dudgeon offshore windfarm between the landfall point at Weybourne Hope and the North Norfolk district boundary near Great Ryburgh in accordance with the terms of the application.

“I do not consider the proposal would result in any material harm to the appearance and character of the area beyond the initial construction phase. Nor would there be any significant adverse effect on agriculture or other land uses.”

He added that the “limited” impacts would be outweighed by the advantages a major supplier of renewable energy would bring.

The Dudgeon site is located 32km offshore from Cromer and power generation could commence by late 2015. But the exact location of the onshore substation is still to be decided.

Warwick project director Mark Petterson said: “We are pleased these necessary cable consents have been granted and reflect our commitment to work closely with local communities and their representatives.

“In a time of national austerity, projects like Dudgeon are of absolute importance for creating jobs and delivering economic growth.”

The inspector’s findings contain a host of conditions, including that the cabling work must begin within five years of planning consent, that the impact of the work must be strictly monitored and that all pits and permanent above-ground equipment must be approved in writing by NNDC before development begins.

Warwick Energy claimed the windfarm project would produce enough electricity to supply up to 400,000 homes with power - approximately the number of houses in Norfolk.

Planning permission for the southern section of the cabling - 17km in total - was received from Breckland District Council in October 2010.

Breckland council refused the application for a substation site near Little Dunham - a decision that was quashed by the High Court in April.

The decision is now being reconsidered by the secretaries of state for energy and climate change and for communities and local government.

A Warwick Energy spokesman said as part of “contingency planning”, it was preparing to apply for an alternative substation site between Necton and Little fransham due to the “continued uncertainty”.

20 comments

  • I think Sayitasitis makes an excellent case, well constructed and very balanced

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    weaversway

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

  • So, one turbine, which has divided society in Bodham and tried it's best to do so in N Walsham is a good idea, I think not. One idiotic turbine which WILL make money for the already (by definition) rich land owner but contribute next to nothing in the grand scheme of renewable energy, compared to 168 + 88 =256 turbines, all offshore can only be described as stupid, whichever way you look at it.

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    Windless

    Monday, June 25, 2012

  • Weaversway Thanks again for your kind comments. The fact is, and again I have to refer to Mr Ringer's comment re division of society, that this article is all about OFFSHORE wind yet we seem to have managed to start a wee fight re ONSHORE wind. Surely this alone shows what a contentious issue this is. The real fact of the matter is that those who can afford to have one, or, worse, two of these things achieve little other than upsetting circa 85% of the population, those who have commented against both the Bodham and the now (thankfully) removed North Walsham application, but they do, however, have a means of collecting revenue through the absurd carbon subsidies for about 19 years of the (alleged) 25 year life of these mostly unwanted industrial machines blighting our landscape. All paid for by ALL utility bill payers whether they can afford to, or not. You really couldn't make this up!!!!!

    Add your comment |

    windup

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

  • Very good post, Ian

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    weaversway

    Monday, June 25, 2012

  • At long last some sense in wind power! Offshore is where these need to be, 168 here, 88 at Sheringham Shoal, large numbers and in places where it is actually WINDY! Not one or two dotted around the countryside annoying circa 85% of those who submit notices to the planners, as in the case of N Walsham and Bodham. Only one electrical connection in either case too, albeit a controversial one in this case if you happen to be a NNDC Councillor! So PLEASE can we forget all about idiocies such as NWalsham and Bodham, soon Scottow as well, placing one or two in wholly inappropriate places and there only to convert wind into cash for already rich landowners!

    Add your comment |

    windup

    Monday, June 25, 2012

  • Onshore wind added £4.68 to the average households energy bills in 201011. During the same period Gas cost £120 to the average households energy bills. That is 0.05% for onshore wind, and 10% for Gas (Ofgem), so I think we know where the increase is fuel poverty is coming from, and it is not onshore wind. In terms of the cabling, the distance is 28Km onshore, yes, but 32km offshore so my 40 mile estimate was not too far out.

    Add your comment |

    Callum Ringer

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

  • I think Sayitasitis makes an excellent case, well constructed and very balanced

    Add your comment |

    weaversway

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

  • Choice It could be done and just like onshore wind, an incinerator is about as popular as a pork pie in a synagogue. If properly financed, you could even get the wind farm operators to finance it too!!

    Add your comment |

    windup

    Monday, June 25, 2012

  • Newsflash, Sir, you are completely wrong in thinking that renewable energy is the "solution" to anything. It costs circa £3.5 million per turbine which, in itself uses 1+tonnes of Chinese Neodimium rare earth magnets, it is is constructed, largely of Glass Reinforced Plastic, Glassfibre to you or me, none of which is recyclable and it generates, at best, 20% of the manufactures rated output in normal winds for our region, indeed the whole reason that they are so huge is that they have to be as they are so innefficient. And, it has to be said, they have no effect on the gas price!! They do, however, deliver £1 coins in high quantities to the landowner whose land they are on for approximately 19 of the 25 years they are there, and who pays for that.........................you, and me, and any other utility bill payer, rich.........or poor

    Add your comment |

    Windless

    Monday, June 25, 2012

  • Callum Just had a re-think re your post. Instead of North Walsham, let's consider the whole of the UK, Population circa 60,000,000, let's assume 3 per household, that's therefore 20,000,000 households in the UK at £4.68 per household that comes to £93,600,000, all for a form of energy we don't actually either want, or need, ONSHORE wind. Whichever way you look at it either at N Walsham or UK level, some people are making money in huge quantities at the expense of others, who may well be struggling to exist financially as it is. BTW, Whether or NOT it's windy!

    Add your comment |

    windup

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

  • Thank you Weaversway. I think the important point to make is that I am NOT against renewable energy, in my case it would be shooting myself in the foot as part of my work is in offshore wind, a robotic tracked underwater vehicle I designed is currently doing the electrical connections for a wind farm off Newcastle, for example. What I am against is the inappropriate use of ones or twos onshore, usually in less than perfect sites as well. The N Walsham one was only sited where it was as that was the only site they could get, hardly a good business decision to accept less than perfect siting just because that's all you can get! It is more expensive offshore, but it's also much windier, if you take the long term view it will be much more profitable than anything can be onshore. Also there is, effectively, only one connection to the grid for the whole field so that cost is divided by the number of turbines in the field, and, let's face it, it only has to be done once! And the use of onshore turbines DOES divide society despite what Mr Ringer says, just type "Bodham Turbine" into Google and simply read the headlines, anyone who doesn't spot the huge division this one turbine application has created is simply missing the point. To summarise if wind is the chosen power source it has to be offshore. If solar is the chosen power source it can be onshore and will affect very few, also it's just as sunny on or offshore!!

    Add your comment |

    windup

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

  • Mr Ringer Just done some simple sums. You said, and I quote, that the Bodham electrical connection was only "about" 200 metres. Let's assume that to be true. The Dudgeon connection is NOT "40 odd miles" (your words) but actually 28Km, circa 18 miles. That's about, therefore, 28000 (metres)divided by 168 (the number of turbines) = 166 metres per turbine! Good value by anyone's standards! Perhaps reality will get through to you one day! Still impressed by the lack of the NIMBY acronym though!!!!!

    Add your comment |

    windup

    Monday, June 25, 2012

  • Callum Assuming your figures are correct and assuming that North Walsham has a poulation of 12000 as it had at the last cencus, then it is reasonable to assume that NW has circa 4000 households? Therefore onshore wind cost just this one town 4000x £4.68 = £18720 per year, your figures. What is missing in this equation is that NW didn't actually get ANYTHING for this money, it would have had the electricity anyway. I think I know, perhaps better than you, exactly where the increase in fuel poverty is coming from, from sources of energy which simply pay the landwner and cost the utility bill payer, you and me, for example? Also this cost was to the bill payer whether or not it was windy!

    Add your comment |

    windup

    Tuesday, June 26, 2012

  • imagine the cost to north norfolk taxpayers if michael bakers rejection of the cabling had gone ahead ! scandalous !

    Add your comment |

    Double Bill

    Monday, June 25, 2012

  • You were the one who mentioned the Bodham Turbine in the very first comment on this article. So for how it has come to onshore wind, please look no further than yourself.

    Add your comment |

    Callum Ringer

    Wednesday, June 27, 2012

  • Callum We have already agreed (if only by your lack of response) that you, as a labour supporter, are happy that the already rich landowner will for 19 years (your words) take money from those who pay utility bills whether rich or poor. The money will stay locally, very, in his bank account. Paid for by those who are already struggling thanks to 13 years of previous Labour ineptitiude via their utility bills. You seem happy with this yet 85% of those opposing the Bodham . application seem to disagree with you, this puts you in a minority, by any standards. I was impressed with one part of you response however, you managed to avoid the NIMBY acronym in this and you previous answer, well done! Oh, and BTW, Callum we are talking about ONE turbine at Bodham, 256 offshore is virtually guaranteed to be a wee bit more effective!

    Add your comment |

    Windless

    Monday, June 25, 2012

  • Agree with Sayitasitis. Windfarms fine as long as they are massed offshore, not single turbines dotted around the countryside

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    weaversway

    Monday, June 25, 2012

  • Just a shame we cannot have Norfolk’s incinerators sited offshore. 6 miles underwater would be perfect.

    Add your comment |

    Choice

    Monday, June 25, 2012

  • I cannot understand why people are using Bodham as an example of a community divided over wind power. I have listened to the views of a great many residents and the significant majority are either in support or indifferent to the application. There is a vocal minority of those who scaremonger and try and divide the communities through producing mis-information on leaflets, etc., but just because they make the most noise does not mean they speak for the majority of residents. The fact of the matter is that those who keep opposing schemes like this are really the ones damaging North Norfolk for generations to come. And on a point, SAYITASITISnt - Onshore wind, such as the proposed one for Bodham will probably be more cost effective that offshore. Owing to its high location and proximity to the coast like the wind is likely to not differ much from the offshore, and the cabling required to be buried is about 200meters, not 40 odd miles. The infrastructure is already in place.

    Add your comment |

    Callum Ringer

    Monday, June 25, 2012

  • Between 2004 and 2010 dual fuel bills rose by £455, and £382 were due to soaring gas prices. When people blame us paying for these subsidies they should be looking at rising gas prices for effecting their bills - not renewable energy. Renewable energy is a solution to stopping those rising gas prices.

    Add your comment |

    Jeffrey Osborne

    Monday, June 25, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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